Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Ad Campaigns

Amy's on vacation this week, Phyllis Fine fills in:

Honda's Mr. Opportunity sings in Italian. Cats sing in English. A mythical Frenchman creates a better mayonnaise. Let's launch!

Honda's Mr. Opportunity sings in Italian. Cats sing in English. A mythical Frenchman creates a better mayonnaise. Let's launch!

"Uninspired by the condiments of his day," Colonel Pierre FrenchLastNameI Couldn'tCatch determined to create a better mayonnaise. "So he sailed up to a fine fluffy cloud and brought back a big pinch of it," which later became the recipe for Blue Plate Mayonnaise. Or so says one of the two entertaining animated spots that attempt to create iconic status for the brand (which I for one have never heard for), both ending with the tagline "Spread the legend." Second ad is all about the time sandwiches, called "blandwiches," were on the verge of extinction -- who knew? -- until our heroic product came in to save the day. Watch the spots here and here. Agency is The Richards Group.

I don't quite get the central metaphor in this VitaminWater spot: "Some people treat their body like a temple. I treat mine more like an amusement park." The idea is illustrated very literally by showing a tiny woman juxtaposed against a much larger shot of the product. Woman is doing various circus-clowny things, from walking a tightrope to riding a unicycle. Creative was handled by Zambezi. Media agency was Starcom MediaVest Group.

Target recently launched nine 15-second spots in the latest incarnation of its "Life's a Moving Target" campaign. In my favorite, a man on a cell phone looks at first one, then the other Target candy aisle as we hear a woman's voice ask, "Could you get me something sweet... or salty... no, sweet... actually, salty..." When the camera cuts to her we see that of course, she's pregnant. The featured product, M&M's Pretzel, neatly solves the sweet/salty dilemma. See it here. "Let's put the fish in friendship" begins the silly song sung by animated fish -- in a commercial inside a commercial for Friskies Seafood Sensations being avidly watched by a gray tabby (who resembles my own cat Joey -- but then, most tabbies look pretty much alike). See it here. Meanwhile, the treadmill Vitaminwater Zero spot, which features pounding feet and the treadmill's time indicator slowly advancing from one second to another, was almost too lifelike in its evocation of the tedium that is the gym. See it here. Then there's the Target brand tissue spot, with the guy crying while watching a dramatic moment in the movie "Rudy" on TV, here, and the brother wrapping his sister in Cottonnelle toilet paper, here. Wieden+Kennedy Portland created the campaign.

If you're a cat person, you know that folks often assume you'll welcome any gift with a feline image tacked on. Still, sometimes it's hard to be thankful when my mother-in-law gives me the latest cat present, usually something for the kitchen (thankfully, not clothing). That's the way I felt -- mixed -- about the first entry in the new national Quiznos campaign featuring the "Singimals": three cats all dressed up in what look like high school band uniforms, wearing weird blonde wigs on their heads, singing (and playing band instruments) to celebrate Quiznos' new $5, $4, $3 value menu. Cutest part is the paw holding up a sign that says "Toasty." Check it out here. The campaign will also feature an online contest where consumers can upload their own versions of the "Singimals" song for the chance to win a $5,000, $4,000 or $3,000 cash prize. Agency is WONGDOODY.

Honda goes to the opera in one of its latest Mr. Opportunity spots. Scusa, that's "Signor Opportunity," who comes onstage to save the day by singing news of the Honda Clearance Event, after an agitated soprano tunefully bemoans the loss of her golden opportunity. Yes, it's all sung in Italian (with English subtitles), and hilariously over-the-top. See it here. (Am I hallucinating, or is the first phrase the soprano sings, translated as "Alas," really a distinctly non-Italian one: namely, "Oy, vey"? Or is there an Italian equivalent that sounds like Yiddish?) RPA handled the creative and the media buy.

Random iPhone app of the week: With StayHIP, the first bookable app for boutique hotels, mobile users can search by city name, price, or keyword (for example, "contemporary, luxurious, urban") and view rates and availability in real time. The "Hotels Near Me" feature instantly finds the nearest boutique hotels using guests' GPS location. Developed by TRAVELCLICK and Mobiata, the app is now available at the App Store and for Android.

Regularly scheduled Out to Launch columnist Amy Corr is on vacation this week.

Phyllis Fine is columns editor for MediaPost.

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